The cofounder of a French-Muslim advocacy group was forced to resign for inviting a Jewish, pro-Israel lawmaker to the group’s inaugural event.
Farid Belkacemi, former vice president of the League for the Judicial Defense of Muslims, resigned because of the presence at the September 16 opening event of Meyer Habib, a member of France’s National Assembly and former vice president of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, according to a statement by the League.
The attendance of Habib at the Paris venue was “incompatible with the League’s values and provoked heated emotions because of Habib’s capacity as adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his functions at the heart of Likud,” the statement read.
CRIF, for its part, released a statement saying Habib was not representing the Jewish organization, but attended the event in his capacity at the National Assembly.
CRIF added that among the founding members of the new Muslim body was Roland Dumas, a former French foreign minister for the Socialist Party, who said in July during a television interview that Israel was behind the British government’s readiness to strike in Syria. Dumas has also accused “Israelis” of controlling French intelligence services.
Habib, a Jewish businessman and personal friend of Netanyahu, was elected to the National Assembly in June, as the representative of French citizens living outside the country. Netanyahu endorsed Habib’s candidacy in a promotional video.
Habib represents the district of southern Europe, which includes French nationals residing in Israel. The National Assembly is the lower of France’s two parliaments, and consists of 577 députés. Since 2012, French expatriates send their own regional constituency representatives to the National Assembly. The French diaspora is divided into 11 so-called conscriptions. Israel is part of the eighth conscription, together with Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, San Marino and the Vatican.